Club Audition, Please Help
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Club Audition, Please Help

    I'm so freaking out right now. I'm going to D'Tox International, a small club that opened up in Bellwood, IL. I'm auditioning to be a DJ there. I'm so nervous that I'm shaking.

    My biggest worry is that I'll play the wrong music or screw up transitions, or do something else big and embarrassing that will lose me the gig. Anybody got any ideas on how I should handle this? Am I worrying about nothing?

    Luckily, I get to go early, so I know what kind of music the crowd up there is into, but I'm still worried I don't have the right music, the right vibe, the right focus. What if the DJ before me plays all the good songs, and I'm left with crap, due to my smaller selection? (I know the area/club is a pretty good mix of hip-hop, latino, reggaeton, but I don't have a whole lot of any of those).

    Also, I'm not the best at transitions. And my VCI-100 likes to change the pitch on the currently-playing deck anytime I press any button. Traktor Scratch Pro 1.1.1 or 1.1.2 is my version.

    Every possible tiny worry is springing up and making itself a huge nuisance. What do I do? Any words of advice and/or calming/encouragement?

    -DJ ATP

  2. #2
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    First, you need to stop, take a deep breath, and relax.

    You have, in the end, only your abilities at your finger tips. All of the tech stuff that can go wrong might, but that is out of your control.

    If you don't have the right music and can't keep them dancing then this isn't the gig for you. Go and spin and rock out and have fun, but if you don't deliver then you don't deliver. There will be other gigs and opportunities.

    If you know what the crowd is into then make sure you have that. If the DJ before you plays all the good songs then you need to be a DJ and do what needs to be done. If you don't have a lot of music that the club is based around then you should go, spin and do what you do, and if no one is into it then it isn't a gig for you.

    The VCI-100 is probably not changing anything. You should make sure that your TSI is clean, there are no Pitch Reset commands, and that your sync workflow makes sense so it isn't syncing to the clock when it's on Auto and goes all over the place. Make a backup line so if the pitch goes nuts you can reset it.

    Look, all you can do is bring the skill, tech and music you already have at your fingertips. If you aren't a fit for this club then neither party loses. You'd be better off finding this out when you're spinning early to people who you can spin for than when you need to spin to a big room of people and it just doesn't work.

    Relax and have fun. If it isn't fun then there's no point in all the crazy work we put in.
    It's the FAQ. Read it.

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  3. #3
    Tech Wizard
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    My girlfriend and I were doing some looking around online. Apparently, Friday night is House night. I have plenty to go around, so I'm not too worried about that anymore.

    My remaining worries are my funky tech, and my abilities. I've never been truly ace at transitions, so I really have to focus on keeping them short and sweet tonight. Here's hoping I get it right.

    That, and as long as I rock the party right, my mixing skills won't be the focus of everyone's good time. Here's hoping I can read the crowd ok and keep them moving and having fun.

    As for my VCI-100 SE, I'll check everything and make sure nothing weird is going on behind-the-scenes...but I'm using a (barely) modified version (changed behaviours of Play, Pause, Cue buttons) of the official DJ TT mapping, matching the new stick-on plastic sheet cover thingy. Most of my problems have to do with sync engaging automatically, and the pitch changing by crazy amounts when I press any of the transport controls buttons on my VCI-100 SE. I've always had a problem like this since I got the thing, and I had figured out some way to not have it be a problem...but I forget what I did to fix it before.

    How do I make a backup line, as you say, and how do I check my sync workflow? I'm not sure what you're referring to.

    I'll do my best to just relax and enjoy it, because if I'm not enjoying it, nobody will, right? Thanks for the support, DvlsAdvct. Keep on advct-ing the dvl. :P
    Last edited by DJ ATP; 09-19-2009 at 02:41 AM.

  4. #4
    Retired DJTT Moderator DvlsAdvct's Avatar
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    The problem you're running into has to do with your sync mode. Under the clock it should say Manual / Automatic / Internal and... External (doing this from memory, so bare with me). If I have it set to automatic, which is really useful for navigating through the Master/Sync modes, I've found I run into a really unique problem.

    Run through this scenario and let me know if this happens to you. Start with nothing in any decks, all pitch faders in the middle, (I think the BPM count off reads out 120BPM), or just load traktor clean. Make your Clock mode automatic. Load a track into the deck. It should come up as Master and have its original tempo. On that deck press Sync. It should light up halfway, meaning that the deck will default to Sync once it is no longer Master (either designated by you or the automatic switch over)

    Now what I want you to do is just press play and watch the Master Clock up top. It won't shoot to the bpm of the track, but something else. Before it Master Clock reads the same as the deck stop the deck. The deck should also be in Sync Mode. So now the master clock should read something weird, but definitely not what you're deck is. Now if you just hit Cue/Play your tempo should jump down to what the Master Clock says and stay there.

    If this is how it happens then we'll go on from there. If not then I'll have to be in front of my comp.

    By a backup line I meant to create a new entry in your TSI that is dedicated to reseting the pitch, either as a hotkey or a MIDI command. That way, in case something weird happens you have a quick fix.

    To check your sync work flow you need to go through the TSI and look at your Sync and Tempo entries (sort by Command should do this) and make sure there are no weird mappings.

    Don't worry about funky techniques. Do those when you're comfortable and secure in your abilities. Focus on rocking the crowd and keeping their hips grooving to the tunes you're blasting.

    You got the right idea. If you aren't having fun no one else will. I'll do my best to live up to my name
    It's the FAQ. Read it.

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  5. #5
    Tech Guru sarasin's Avatar
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    How did it go??

    Did you take pics?

    Why not?
    APC80:STR8-100's+Ortofon Concorde Scratch\Electro:ButterRugz:TSP2-NI Audio4DJ:Xone22+Innofader:MacBook Pro 15"
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  6. #6
    Tech Wizard
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    DvlsAdvct, you saved my ass. I'll look into your specific problem tomorrow after I get some sleep post-club. The Auto-Clock was the problem for me. I changed it to Manual, and now I don't get the pitch fader jumping around any time I press a transport or cue/loop button. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    I've also swapped my high-EQ knobs for Deck A and Deck B Key-shift, so I can key-match songs for less-painful long mixes (I'm using Bento's Smart Mixer, so I don't have to use my EQ knobs anymore) (and I don't have to mix with keylock off anymore in order to do Ean's nifty "make-the-loop-smaller-and-smaller-while-pitching-it-up-to-build-excitement-and-mix-tracks-with-incompatible-BPMs-or-keys-or-time-signatures" trick he showed us months ago on the blog), as well as swapping my mid-EQ knobs for pitch-reset (I just twitch one, and I get instant pitch-reset for emergencies).

    Thank you for the tips.

    sarasin, I'll be checking back with pictures, and/or maybe a recording of my live mix, if I even get squeezed in like the owner said he might. Otherwise, it will be a few days before my audition actually happens. I'm hoping it's tonight for stress reasons. That, and I already told everyone I know they should check out my audition tonight. Also, I'm broke (actually), and I'm hoping he'll pay me if I do a good job...though I doubt he will, since it's a live "audition."

  7. #7
    Tech Guru sarasin's Avatar
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    Shit!

    Good luck then dude!

    APC80:STR8-100's+Ortofon Concorde Scratch\Electro:ButterRugz:TSP2-NI Audio4DJ:Xone22+Innofader:MacBook Pro 15"
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  8. #8

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    DvlsAdvct has it down. Next time just relax. If it doesn't work so quickly do what other DJs have done before you... LIQUOR!!!
    SyblingQ - Electro House for dark alleys.

  9. #9
    DJTT Dominator JesC's Avatar
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    Buddy drink some liquor!!! Right now I'm about to go on and I had 1 to many Jack n coke. If ur traktor is giving you shit, make sure to take some CDs just in case.
    Controllerist: Think different | SoundCloud | MixCloud | Twitter |

  10. #10
    Tech Wizard
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    Yeah, so many problems.

    So first my girlfriend and I sit there from before 10 PM to about 12:15 AM. This guy promised me he might squeeze me in. So I get up and go talk to him around 12:15 and he tells me to go out to my car and set up my shit. So I go get it, bring it in, crouch in the corner of the DJ booth while I'm setting up my laptop. I go through my normal startup routine for my smart mixing setup, but Ableton won't load. I restart Ableton several times, all the while being asked by everybody and their fucking dog if I'm ready yet. Then it finally loads, but my VCI-100 SE won't connect with it. Then I go to the MIDI settings in Ableton and try to fix everything, but it freezes. So I say screw this, and just use my straight Traktor-to-sound card connection. The channels got mixed up somehow, I assume from using JackRouter so much...so it takes me like ten tries of cable-swapping to get a stereo signal out of deck a. There was so much hassle, I didn't even bother trying to set up my recording setup, so I have no audio at all of the event.

    Then, I mix out of the previous DJ's stuff, disconnect his cables, and plug in my deck b cable, and get mixing. I take too long doing things because everything is new, and I brought my personal mixer, but there was no room for the big lug, cuz the club's mixer was HUGE (a DENON rackmount on the table in a TINY thing I wouldn't even call a booth)...so I'm completely overwhelmed by the sheer retardedness of the club's mixer, and I can't get anything other than split cue to work (I don't do split cue, cuz my left ear is slightly damaged due to some stupidity years ago, meaning I have a several-decibel cut across the board on my left ear, as compared to my right). It should be sufficient to say that I was completely lost. I did the best I could, though, and kept pressing on.

    I began to run out of time on my first song, and cued up my second song, and somehow got the transition DEAD-ON. I was SO THRILLED, because I fuck up every other transition I've ever done. Then, everything got even more fucked. No matter what I did, that problem that has been haunting me, with the pitch changing all the time...came back. The settings were all the same as after I fixed the problem before...but the problem started happening again. Any time I'd press play on the cueing song, the currently-playing deck would change pitch up or down by a random (but large) percentage up or down, resulting in a train-wreck before I even got to a transition. This happened two more times, all the while dealing with requests to "play more hip hop," then to "play more house," and "play more reggaeton." Then there was this one guy who apparently was promised by the last DJ to play the lolipop song (Make that loli-pop is how the lyrics go), and I remembered the guy before me playing the other loli song (loli loli [work that body]). Shit. I had to deal with this too.

    So, after four songs and a HUGE line of train wrecks...the main DJ came up and took over, plugged his shit in, and I closed down. I was on for less than 30 minutes, and I fucked it up BIG TIME.

    I feel like I've failed worse than I've ever failed before. I'm thinking of giving up finally, because I've been practising for 5 years, and I'm worse than when I started (vinyl is SO much easier to mix, and I don't even know why). Either give up, or back to 5 more years of practise at something I'm not cut out for. Shit.

    Oh, and when I was packing my car to go to the club...I dropped my VCI flat on its face on the asphalt in the apartment parking lot. Dinged the fuck out of the edges of the case, one corner, and several of the knobs now have divots in the rubberized coating. Fuck.

    Worst. Night. Ever. I didn't have this much trouble in high school using a cheap Gemini dual CD-player, my two cheap ripoff Numark "Funkmaster Flex" belt-drive mistakes, my old Numark DM 950 mixer, a whole bunch of ghetto-rigged cabling, and six of my friends to help me set it all up.

    And I had some to drink, too. Didn't hurt me, but didn't help either. I certainly calmed down after spending forever at the club drinking some stuff I'd never heard of that tasted not quite entirely unlike tea.

    So basically, I wasted two gallons of diesel fuel (my car runs diesel), three days of my time preparing for this gig, fifteen gigs of hard drive space for new music, a bunch of panic and adrenaline, my girlfriend's time and effort (she worked HARD to keep the dancefloor in this almost-empty club moving -- the club's first night, and the majority of the people there were paid to be there, or were auditioning for positions just like me), unnecessary damage to my equipment...and all I get is a headache, ear pains, a dry throat, a general feeling of being sick to my stomach, and a HUGE let-down. Oh, and a horrible start to my career.

    What the fuck? Apparently hard work isn't enough. Kids with a laptop, Serato, and some MP3s can do a better job than me. A guy who has been DJing two months with brand-new Numark HDX turntables and too much free time can do it like a fucking pro.

    I work my ass off for five years, and all I get is this huge let-down and the worst feeling I've ever experienced.

    I'm so depressed.

    So yeah, sarasin, sorry, but no pictures or audio. I have pictures of my dinged-up VCI, but I'm too tired to care right now. Maybe I'll post them later.

    I'll try not to post about my gigs until after the fact in the future. I don't need to be putting false hopes on this forum, in addition to myself, my girlfriend, and all the friends I contacted (and the one who actually showed up).

    -DJ ATP

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